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Ensiferum: One Man Army

Formed as long ago as 1995 as a trio by guitarist/vocalist Markus Toivonen have been a recording since their self-titled debut in November of 2000 and One Man Army is the follow up to Unsung Heroes which I consider to be one of the better albums of recent times and certainly the best sequenced. Our own Peter Pardo described Unsung Heroes as, "a varied release that shows that Ensiferum aren't relying on a standard formula, but are comfortable with mixing it up a bit and offering some variety to the listener." Some thought that it was too far away from the band's classic sound so perhaps the challenge for Ensiferum on One Man Army is to marry the best of old and new Ensiferum.

Other than the utterly, utterly horrific cover of "Rawhide" (which sounds like Korpiklaani on an off day) I would very much suggest that they have succeeded. Only time will tell if One Man Army has the longevity of Unsung Heroes but there is a great deal to enthuse over here. The centrepiece of the album is the 11:20 minutes long "Descendants, Defiance, Domination" which epitomizes the epic side of the band and indeed the album. "Two of Spades" very much nods towards Turisas and the cover of "Warmetal" is supremely brutal whilst "Candour and Lies" appears to have more pedal steel on it than most modern country albums. The aptly titled "Bonus Song" is pretty funny and meta as well.

To recap; another winner from a band going through a creative peak although I am not sure that it beats Unsung Heroes. Special props must also go to Gyula Havancsák who created the excellent artwork which is now my PC wallpaper.

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing:
  1. March of War
  2. Axe of Judgement
  3. Heathen Horde
  4. One Man Army
  5. Burden of the Fallen
  6. Warrior Without a War
  7. Cry for the Earth Bounds
  8. Two of Spades
  9. My Ancestors' Blood
  10. Descendants, Defiance, Domination
  11. Neito Pohjolan
  12. Rawhide (Bonus Track)
  13. Warmetal (Barathrum cover) (Bonus Track)
  14. Candour and Lies (Bonus Track)
  15. Bonus Song (Bonus Track)

Added: February 18th 2015
Reviewer: Simon Bray
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2061
Language: english

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